Have you mastered the “I swear I’m not sleeping” head bob? How many cups of coffee do you go through before noon? Do you try to cover up your snoring with poorly timed coughing? You’re not alone. It’s fall, and we’re all tired.
People naturally start to feel a little drained this time of year. The sun is setting earlier, and the weather is just a bit cooler. Our bodies start shifting into our internal wintertime clocks, and with that comes sluggishness. Sensing the decrease in sunlight, your body starts to produce more melatonin, causing you to feel sleepy. It’s time to wipe that drool off your mousepad and show autumn who’s boss. Here are some tips to help keep you alert this fall.
Do not: Load up on coffee and caffeinated drinks
Do: Drink more water
You know too much caffeine is not good for you. It causes you to crash and dehydrates your body like you wouldn’t believe. The fastest and most effective way to give yourself a quick jolt of energy is to drink a tall glass of cold water. Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of tiredness. Get yourself a reusable water bottle and keep it filled. Drink up!
Do not: Stay at your desk all day
Do: Get up and get out
If you’re like me, you eat lunch at your desk (or skip it altogether). Don’t be like me. In the cooler months, we instinctively exercise and move less to preserve energy – think hibernation. However, it actually works the other way: increasing the amount of exercise in fall and winter not only burns more calories, but it also keeps your endorphins flowing and energy up. So get up from that desk, go outside, and take a brief lunchtime walk. Convince your coworkers to go with you.
Do not: Mindlessly eat to stay awake
Do: Snack on the right stuff
Is there a candy dish on your desk? Enough of that. Chocolate is full of sugar and caffeine that can cause you to crash at work. Save the candy for home and opt for high-protein snacks like yogurt, nuts or peanut butter, and hardboiled eggs. Protein gives you lasting energy and it feels filling so you can eat less. By choosing energy-packed snacks, you’re giving yourself an extra boost to get through the day.
Do not: Spend all fall and winter in the dark
Do: Invest in a Vitamin D light
Miss feeling the sun on your skin? Feeling a little vitamin D deprived? Vitamin D lamps are one of the safest ways to get extra “sun” in the winter (skip those tanning beds). Simply set one up on your desk at work and bask in the light. If that’s not an option, vitamin D supplements are available at most pharmacies. You’ll feel more vibrant and awake in no time.
Do not: Take extra naps or sleep in
Do: Wake up once it’s light out
The simple solution to feeling tired is to sleep. So if you’re extra tired in the fall, you should just take a nap or sleep in, right? Nope. According to sleep specialists, extra sleep will only make you more sluggish and more tired. If possible, adjust your morning routine to wake up after the sun has risen. If your eyes see sunlight when they first open in the morning, you’re more likely to stay awake throughout the day. Sleep science, tell your friends.
Alright, now that you’re on the path to autumn alertness, I’ll leave you with just one more small reminder: Christmas is only 59 work days away. If that doesn’t wake you up, I don’t know what will.